Catch the horse thieves..!


YESTERDAY I opened the paper to find right there on the front page, another rape in the outskirts of Mumbai. Sadly, the papers also reported that the girl was out with her boyfriend, insinuating that the girl should have been safely at home, in the kitchen or behind a locked door, and that this would have prevented the deed from being committed.

Instead of condemning the barbaric act, instead of damming the police force for not making the place safe we blame the girl. In other words we are saying the victim was actually the cause of the crime. As I read this newspaper item and even heard the reactions of others, I was reminded of a story by Kalil Gibran:

One nightfall a man travelling on horseback towards the sea reached an inn by the roadside. He dismounted and confident in man and night, like all riders to the sea, he tied his horse to a tree beside the door and entered the inn. At midnight, when all were asleep, a thief came and stole the traveller’s horse.

In the morning the man awoke and discovered his horse was stolen. He grieved for his horse and that a man had found it in his heart to steal. Then his fellow lodgers came and stood around him and began to talk. The first man said, “How foolish of you to tie your horse outside the stable!”

And the second said, “Still more foolish without even hobbling the horse!” And the third man said, “It is stupid at best to travel to the sea on horseback!” The fourth man said, “Only the indolent and the slow of foot own horses!” Then the traveller was much astonished.

He cried out: “My friends, because my horse is stolen you have hastened one and all to tell me my faults and shortcomings. But strange, not one word of reproach have you uttered about the man who stole my horse!” And that my dear friends is how we look at each issue in this country. Whether it is rape or murder or riots, we criticize the victim.

How convenient. Instead of being castigated by the people for not maintaining law and order, we are quietly made to focus on side issues. Focus on the horse thief. While we like fools blame the victim, the horse thief escapes. I shudder to think of that poor girl and her thoughts as she faces the world today. “Why were you out with a boy?” her relatives must be asking.

Isn’t it enough that she has suffered? Now catch the horse thieves or are we as stupid as those silly men in Kalil Gibran’s tale? Here, the horse thief needn’t just be the men who raped the girl, but a government that doesn’t protect areas where a girl is unsafe. Make them accountable..!

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